IS THE UNITED STATES MILITARY A SOCIALIST INSTITUTION?

What is the purpose of a blog? I suppose that depends upon the blog and one’s perspective. From my perspective, this blog exists to encourage people to discover through discussion both the Bible and our country’s history. So I try to encourage comments, even from those who disagree. In fact, when it serves my purpose, I will go so far as to let commenters drive the discussion. Thus, we have this post.

I notice that you have not disputed my proposition that our military service was and is, by definition, a socialistic governmental institution necessarily paid for by enforced taxation. (There are other ways to do it, such as a mercenary army contracted by the rich or by corporations to support and defend only their pecuniary interests rather than to support and defend our Constitution, but because of the obvious consequences, no serious citizen from either political persuasion really desires such a purely capitalistic and libertarian alternative). Apparently, like most good conservatives, you accept this socialism and this enforced taxation as a good thing, or at least a necessary evil. In doing so, you must concede that it appears that you are not consistently against the concept of socialism or even of enforced taxation, but, inconsistent with your stated extreme ideological principles, against these useful institutional forms and mechanisms only when they are applied in areas that you simply do not like. (from here)

Did I accept by default Tony’s contention that the military is a socialist institution? As often happens Tony and I were talking past each other. Whereas I wanted to talk about the ethics of government, Tony appears to be devoted to making the existing system (based upon robbery) work more efficiently.   😉

Since Tony likes quotes, let’s quote Mr. Dictionary.  MSN Encarta provides several definitions, however, the first seems most applicable.

socialism

1. political system of communal ownership: a political theory or system in which the means of production and distribution are controlled by the people and operated according to equity and fairness rather than market principles

With respect to the military, the key phrase is “the means of production and distribution.” Is the military part of the means of production and distribution? To say that it is is a stretch. What the military is is a two edge sword. The military can either be used to abuse our rights or to protect our rights.

  • When government is of the elite, by the elite, and for the elite, government uses military force to control the means of production or distribution — and the People.
  • When government is of the People, by the People, and for the People, government uses military force to protect the People’s rights to life, liberty, and property (i.e., pursuit of happiness).

In the first case military forces exist as parasites feeding upon civilization. In the second case, military forces protect civilization from predators and parasites. Providentially, the United States military still serves as our protector.

Our military forces exists as an organ of our government. Thus what is true of our military is also true of limited government.

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. — James Madison from The Federalist No. 51

Consider our Courts, Congress, the IRS, US Customs and Border Protection, the Patent and Trademark Office, and so forth. Much the Federal Government, particularly those parts which existed before the 20th Century, exist solely because we are not angels.

23 thoughts on “IS THE UNITED STATES MILITARY A SOCIALIST INSTITUTION?

  1. Tom, I agree with what you say about the power of passengers, but a passenger is not a “peon” just because he/she is not the pilot. A peon is someone enslaved by the elite. Voters are no more enslaved peons than consumers are enslaved by the doctors, accountants, lawyers and pilots that they hire. Hiring someone is just not the same as actually being the surgeon that you hire, but hiring and voting do call for different type of education and judgment.

    Using the same flying analogy, although passengers don’t get to fly the airplane, by researching price and value and by what destinations they chose and what airlines they fly on, passengers collectively get to decide a great deal. They decide the routes, they pick which airlines get market share, and they chose where the pilots get to go. By the same token, by their votes, citizens do get to decide the general direction of the country. Voters, as consumers of government services, therefore hire the government policy makers who they hold accountable for in turn hiring the experts (judges, bureaucrats, etc.). Like passengers, every voter doesn’t have to be an expert on the law and on every complex issue, in order to intelligently pick best price and value for the services they want. And if voters don’t like the results that they are getting, then they have the collective option to throw the bums out. This is constitutional representative government.

    My only complaint with your making rash, generalized constitutional accusations of untruth and incompetence in the more technical systemics of our government is that you really don’t know jack about our constitutional system of law. You tell me that the Constitution is dead document but you don’t even understand how it lives every day in our lives to serve the social good and protect our individual liberty. You want to reengineer the system and you don’t know anything about engineering or the system.

    You may even be right in some particular cases and I may even agree with you, but you haven’t even read the cases, you haven’t studied the legal reasoning, you don’t understand the rules of juris prudence in our age old legal system, and you are not familiar with the competing theories of legal interpretation. To use your analogy about Bible interpretation, you are like the person, who after a cursory reading of the Bible, now thinks that you are expert enough to, not only to lecture others on the topic, but to try to tell other parishioners that they should fire their priests, change the church hierarchy, remodel the whole system of church governance, throw out all the age old rituals, and redo all the basic historic theological principles of your church. Or to use another of your analogies, you are like the person who takes one first aid course and comes to court and accuses your doctor of malpractice because you think his brain surgery technique is all wrong and that he should do it the way that you read in your first aid book. Average americans get to ultimately decide the facts of a malpractice case (if one of the parties opt for a jury trial) and judges decide the law, but if you come to a court of law with a medical malpractice claim, you better either be a recognized medical expert yourself or you better show up with one who will support you, or your so-called “peon” jury will never see your case.

    On the other hand, this is not a court of law, so you can make all the broad, unsubstantiated and uninformed accusations that you want. All I am saying is that your Tea Party followers should take them for exactly what they are worth. Aside from that, if you want to do more than apparently bare false witness by making uninformed rash generalizations about individuals and whole categories of people, then do the research of a given example where you think judges or politicians overstepped their constitutional powers, and I will be thrilled to talk about it. We might even agree.

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